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New owners convert old Blondie’s restaurant into a sports bar concept
He initially didn’t even notice the building.
Tommy Cash and his friends planned to eat Chinese food that night, but decided to try a different cuisine nearby. They found themselves at Blondie’s Restaurant & Lounge at 1501 Piperberry Way S.E.
“I looked at the layout and it fit the mold of what I wanted to do with a sports bar,” Cash said.
He was able to pursue that opportunity earlier this year when Blondie’s closed. Cash, 34, and his wife, Esther, 29, assumed the lease and opened Tommy C’s Sports Bar & Grill in March.
Cash made some modifications to the 5,350-square foot space, most notably adding a second bar and 30 flat-screen televisions. He said the new bar, which is situated on the opposite side of the space, along with the pool table, allows younger and older crowds to segregate.
A 1995 Central Kitsap High School graduate, Cash said his life experiences inspired him to open a bar. He briefly attended Shoreline Community College before traveling to Colorado and Florida, and then spent a year in New Zealand. Upon his return to Kitsap County, Cash worked in painting, construction and real-estate development. He still owns Cash Development Group, a commercial and residential construction company.
But through visits to 18 countries around the world, his dream was to return home and open a bar.
“It almost seems like a bar is where people relax and go,” Cash said. “(I wanted) to have a business where you can make people happy.”
He said he wanted to open a higher-end establishment comparable to ones in Las Vegas or Los Angeles. He feels that Tommy C’s layout, as well as its location, enables him to provide that. In addition to being a short distance off the highway in Port Orchard, which he said lends itself to those commuting between Bremerton and Tacoma, it also is close enough to the Southworth Ferry Terminal to draw customers coming over from Seattle.
“I almost feel like we’re a destination location,” Cash said. “People come here not only because of the ambiance, but the food and service. I think that’s what we’ve got in here.”
Some customers of Tommy C’s predecessor might notice some similarities in the menu, including Blondie’s bleu cheese pesto burger. That is because Reese Craig, who was the sous chef at Blondie’s, is now the lead chef at Tommy C’s.
“The caliber of food was five-star and it still is,” Cash said.
But he said in addition to lower prices than Blondie’s, there also have been changes to the menu that features more traditional bar food. One of his favorites is the Tommy Poppers.
“They’re a larger jalapeño popper than normal,” Cash said. “We dig out the inside, stuff it with cream cheese, a couple of ingredients and cheddar cheese. We roll them in panko and deep fry them.”
When it comes to beverages, Tommy C’s features traditional domestic beers, such as Budweiser and Miller, but also offer a variety of local brews. Those include the Silver City Red, Dosewalips Special Ale from the Hood Canal Brewery, Cascadian Dark Ale from 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor and multiple beers from Seattle, including Pyramid.
“I’m really big on trying to support locals,” Cash said.
Similar to many bars, Tommy C’s also has several promotions throughout the week and live music on Friday night. It is open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 2 a.m. during the weekend.
Cash said customer service is his top priority.
“The patrons are the reason we’re open,” he said. “Our security (staff) is smiling all the time.”